Mosul Leaders Threaten to Join Guerrilla Movement
Protest Firing of Police Commissioner
Al-Zaman: Cabinet member Adil Abdul Mahdi’s brother was assassinated on Sunday. A government oil company official in Kirkuk was assassinated. There were about a dozen announced deaths in guerrilla violence on Sunday. Guerrillas detonated a bomb in Fallujah, killing two Iraqi soldiers; a woman and a child died when police fired indiscriminately after the bomb went off.
The US air force dropped a 500-pound bomb on guerrillas near Taji who fired on a US helicopter, killing at least six, and later capturing another 5.
Al-Hayat: Northern Iraq is a sectarian tinderbox after Saturday’s massive car bombing of a Shiite village near Baqubah in the mixed Diyalah province. The Iraqi Islamic Party (Sunni) called for calm and avoidance of reprisal killings, seeing the bombing of the Shiites and the killing of 25 Mahdi Army militiamen in an ambush in Baghdad on Friday by Sunni Arabs as steps toward sectarian civil war. Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports that the Shiite Badr Corps militia is denying any link to the assassination last week of Saadoun al-Janabi, a defense lawyer for one of Saddam’s relatives.
Some 51 clan elders from the Sunni Arab and Kurdish families of Mosul agreed with policemen in the city that they will return it to the control of armed guerrillas if the Interior Ministry implemented its decision to fire Ninevah’s police chief, Ahmad Muhammad al-Juburi, who is accused of corruption. Hundreds of armed men surrounded the provincial headquarters on Saturday evening to protest al-Juburi’s firing. US troops stopped the protesters from storming the building. The armed protesters, including police and civilians, surrounded a number of government buildings. They shouted through megaphones, complaining of Kurdish domination of provincial offices.
The clan leaders complained in a letter to Jaafari that no official investigation of al-Juburi had been carried out. They threatened to turn the city into a hotbed of insurgency.
Al-Juburi himself charged on Saturday that Kurds and Shiite Arabs had connived at his dismissal because they hoped to roil the province and therefore keep its 1.7 million inhabitants, a majority of them Sunni Arabs, from voting in large numbers in the December 15 parliamentary elections. He warned that they would follow the same tactics in Salahuddin and Anbar Provinces (other Sunni Arab strongholds).
Mosul exploded with violence in November of 2004 when 4,000 policemen suddenly resigned and masked gunmen emerged to police the city of over a million (Iraq’s third-largest). The current situation seems so tense that there is a danger of the repetition of that scenario, which helped prevent Sunni Arabs from being properly represented in parliament, since it threw Ninevah into chaos.
Reuters reports on Mosul here.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports that many Sunni Arabs in Ninevah are convinced that their province actually defeated the constitution by a 2/3s margin in the Oct. 15 referendum, and that the constitution was therefore in reality shot down and is illegitimate.
The Boston Globe reports on the evolution of Marine tactics in turbulent Anbar province.
Shibley Telhami makes the point that the Bush administration’s rushed attempts to stabilize Iraq with cosmetic measures like passing a constitution seem in fact to be exacerbating Sunni Arab resentments and destabilizing the country further.
Al-Zaman: Iyad al-Ta’i, a member of the Virtue Party’s political office, affirmed Sunday that his party would join the United Iraqi Alliance under the leadership of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. He emphasized that the Virtue Party [a puritanical Shiite fundamentalist party especially popular in the southern port city of Basra that follows the teachings of Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr] is dedicated to upholding Iraq’s national unity. He said national unity was the best path to security and stability in Iraq. He said there would be no change in the top officers, which include secretary-general Nadim al-Jabiri; his deputy is Muhammad Abd Nasir al-Sa`idi, a member of the Baghdad provincial council; Ammar Tu’mah, member of parliament; and of course Shaikh Muhammad Yaqubi is the group’s spiritual guide. He said the Virtue Party sought dialogue with three groups– 1) [secular] national leaders, 2) Muslim leaders of various denominations, and then 3) specifically with Shiite leaders.
Al-Ta’i’s list is a welcome acknowledgment of Iraq’s pluralism from a party that is often rather narrow in its program, though the reality of militias in Basra that close video stores and harass unveiled women is hard to reconcile with the call for dialogue.
His emphasis on national unity seems intended to defend the party’s choice of allying with al-Hakim, who last summer seemed to back a Shiite autonomous zone in the South.
BBC World Monitoring of the Iraqi Press for October 30, excerpts:
Al-Bayan carries on the front page a 250-word report on the press conference by Unified Iraqi Coalition yesterday, 29 October, during which Abd-al-Aziz al-Hakim predicted the coalition’s majority in the next National Assembly . . .
Tariq al-Sha’b publishes on the front page a 600-word report citing Iraqi Communist Party Chairman Hamid Majid Musa as saying that the party’s representation in the Iraqi National Bloc’s candidate lists [led by Iyad Allawi] for the governorates is satisfactory . . .
Al-Bayyinah publishes on page 1 a 200-word report that former Ba’thists are behind Amr Musa’s recent visit to Iraq.
Al-Bayyinah runs on page 2 a 200-word report on the negotiations between Adil Abd-al-Mahdi and Hasan al-Sari, Hezbollah Movement in Iraq’s secretary general, to discuss the unfair representation of the movement in the Unified Iraqi Alliance.
Al-Bayyinah publishes on page 3 a 2,500-word report revealing the injustice in the distribution of seats in the Unified Iraqi Alliance, accusing senior members of favouring politicians who either lived abroad or in specific places in Iraq, and excluding members from southern Iraq . . .
Al-Mu’tamar carries on the front page and on page 6 a 600-word article by Muwaffaq al-Rifa’i criticizing the US policy in Iraq and the democracy “imposed by occupation”. . .
Al-Mada publishes on the front page a270-word report citing the Iraqi Council for Peace and Solidarity calling on the Iraqi government to join Rome Law for International Criminal Court.
Al-Mada publishes on page 2 a 50-word report on the resignation of the head of Babil Governorate Council . . .
Al-Furat runs on the front page a 100-word report saying that former Iraqi Army General Ahmad al-Musili, who was in charge of the rocket attack on Israel in 1991, his wife, and their daughter, were assassinated in Mosul. No dates were given . . .
Al-Zaman carries on the front page a 230-word report citing a security source saying that three Iraqi soldiers were killed and seven others were injured in an attack by gunmen in Ba’qubah. The report cites an official source at Diyala Police Command saying that unidentified gunmen assassinated a member from Al-Sadr Bureau in Ba’qubah.
Al-Zaman carries on page 2 a 200-word report on a statement by Al-‘Ilm University of Imam Al-Khalisi that US forces arrested a companion of Shaykh Jawad al-Khalisi in Al-Kazimiyah yesterday, 29 October. . .
Al-Mu’tamar carries on page 8 a 700-word report on drug addiction and trafficking in Iraq. . .
Al-Manarah carries on the front page a 50-word report citing sources at the Iraqi Police saying that secretary general of Iraqi Islamic Movement in Maysan was assassinated. . .
Al-Mashriq publishes on the front page a 30-word report citing police forces saying that seven bodies were found in Al-Latifiyah.
Al-Mada publishes on page 3 a 1,000-word report on the sit-in announced by lawyers in Mosul to protest against the assassination of Iraqi lawyer Sa’dun al-Janabi. [Al-Janabi was defending a relative of Saddam; Sunni Arabs accused the Shiite Badr Corps in the assassination.]